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LETTER II. - Niccolo Machiavelli, The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings, vol. 4 (Diplomatic Missions 1506-1527) 
The Historical, Political, and Diplomatic Writings of Niccolo Machiavelli, tr. from the Italian, by Christian E. Detmold (Boston, J. R. Osgood and company, 1882). Vol. 4.
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Magnificent Signori, etc.: —
I arrived here yesterday evening, but as it was at a late hour I did not make my arrival known to any one. This morning, however, I called upon Robertet, and explained to him the object of my coming. I treated him with all the ceremony and politeness due to so good a friend of our republic; and he manifested pleasure at my mission, telling me that I had come just in time, as his Majesty was on the point of sending an envoy to Florence to ascertain your Lordships’ intentions towards him; and that he had taken umbrage at Marc Antonio’s having been allowed to leave, and at the recall of your ambassador without his being at once replaced by another to attend to these matters; that it was necessary, therefore, to efface this alienation by acts of kindness; and that his Majesty would let me know his intentions, which I ought promptly to communicate to your Lordships by a special courier. I replied to his Lordship in suitable terms, justifying your Lordships, etc.; and to prove to him that in the Marc Antonio business you had been undecided up to the 26th of the past month, I read to him the letter which you had written to me that very day; and thus with the truth it was easy for me to excuse your Lordships completely. I told him of the pass which you had given to Marc Antonio to go to Bologna, and the reasons that had induced you to do it; to which Robertet promptly replied, that it was not to Bologna, but to Genoa, that Marc Antonio wanted to go.* I assured him that I had no knowledge whatever of that; “although by your letter of the 10th instant I was informed of the whole; but if he had learned that your Lordships had been in doubt whether you ought to refuse this pass to Marc Antonio and the Pope’s troops for Genoa, they would have thought they had discovered your intentions fully, and therefore I deemed it well that they should have the proposition and the reply here at the same time,” which, in whatever manner your Lordships may make it, will, I think, facilitate the reply which you will have to make to what I shall tell you further on.
I was afterwards introduced to his Majesty the king, and after presenting my credentials I stated to his Majesty in the most friendly and becoming language the object of my mission, and notified him of the appointment of an ambassador, who would be here so soon as the distinguished character of the individual and the condition of the roads and the seasons would permit. And I then entreated his Majesty to consider all these little things as merely ordinary matters, as in reality they were, and nothing else; and that a pass given to Marc Antonio did not deserve to excite hard thoughts and complaints against your Lordships, inasmuch as all your past acts were not such as deserved suspicions of this kind.
His Majesty received me most graciously, and said that he felt assured of your good faith and affection towards his person, for you had received many benefits at his hand that had been of great advantage to you, but that the time had come now to be more particularly assured of your feelings towards him; and then he said: “Secretary, I have no enmity either with the Pope or any one else; but as every day gives rise to new friendships as well as enmities, I desire that your Signori declare themselves without delay as to what and how much they will do in my favor if it should happen that either the Pope or any one else were to molest or attempt to molest my possessions in Italy. Therefore send an express at once, so that I may have a prompt reply, which they may make by letter or by word of mouth, as they may think proper. But I want to know who are my friends and who my enemies; and say to your Signori, that in return I offer them for the safety of their state all the forces of my kingdom, and if need be I will come myself.”
His Majesty charged me again to communicate this promptly to your Lordships, and to ask for an immediate reply; and told me to prepare this despatch together with Robertet. I replied to his Majesty that I had nothing to say in answer to what he had said to me, except that I would write to your Lordships with all the diligence which he had charged me to employ. I thought I could safely assure him that your Lordships were incapable of failing in the strict compliance with the stipulations of the treaty concluded with his Majesty, and that you were ready to do all that was reasonable and possible. To which his Majesty replied, that he had no doubts on that point, but that he wanted still more positive assurance. I also spoke to his Majesty of the sending of Tommaso to Venice, and of the object of his mission, to which he seemed to attach but little importance.
After this I accompanied Robertet to his lodgings, and remained some little time with him; he repeated to me the same thing that the king had said to me about writing to you, and we agreed that I should bring the letters to him, and that he would forward them by the king’s post to Lyons, and that I should arrange to have them sent from there by a special courier. I have accordingly written to that effect to Bartolommeo Panciatichi, and your Lordships will please to reimburse him the expense, of which he will inform you. Robertet touched again briefly upon the subjects of the ambassador and Marc Antonio; and although he was convinced of the truth of what I had told him, yet he observed that you had many enemies here, who promptly seized every opportunity to calumniate you; and therefore it was well in these times not to give them the chance to speak ill of you; and that it was important that they should be informed here by the first courier that the ambassador had already started, and that your Lordships should act towards Marc Antonio in such a manner as to show that his arrangement with the Pope had not been made with your consent, and that he remained on Lucchese territory, or was going elsewhere. “He then broached the subject of Genoese matters, and spoke of the favors which the Lucchese had shown to certain exiles, and how much they had helped in stirring up a revolution in Genoa;” but that the king was resolved to pay them for this, and that it would be well for you to think of this, as in troubles of that sort there was always something to be gained. He told me furthermore, that as soon as matters became so hot as to cause any apprehensions, the king would come down into Italy as quickly as any private person, even if it were in midwinter, and that then he would make no terms with any one that had shown himself hostile to him except at the point of the sword. These were times, therefore, when one ought to know how to take a resolution, particularly as experience had so often shown the king’s readiness for war, the strength and resources of this kingdom, the fortunate success of his enterprises, and his friendly disposition towards our city and government. So that any one not blinded by passion must see clearly that there was nothing that could interfere with the prosperity of France and the success of the king’s enterprises, except the king’s death, for which there were no reasonable grounds for apprehension at the present. “I recommend you, therefore, once more to write to your Signori that these are times when much can be gained by making one’s self agreeable.”
There is here at this moment a great embassy from the king of England, which is going to Rome. I have not been able to learn the object of it, but Robertet tells me, and I learn the same from others, that these ambassadors have made a general address to the king in presence of the principal nobles of the realm, in which they spoke in the most forcible manner of the strong friendship and union existing between their sovereign and the king of France; and that they had gone so far as to say that their sovereign esteemed the king of France to that degree that he looked upon him almost as his father. After this long interview I left Robertet.
In your Lordships’ letter of the 29th, you express a wish to know upon what the Pope founds the arrogance with which he acts towards the French. According to what I have been able to learn in the short time that I am here, no one knows anything positive about it, and therefore they mistrust everything and everybody. “Your Lordships see what they do to satisfy themselves as to your intentions, and they ought even to do more, and as promptly as possible to ascertain the intentions of other states.” I learn from a friend, what, however, is only conjecture, that the support upon which the Pope relies with most confidence at present is his money and the Swiss; and that he counts upon his authority to carry Spain and the Emperor along with him. From Spain he must have received good promises; for it was seen that in his enterprise against Bologna he left Rome without having concluded anything definite either with France or any other power, and yet by his sole audacity and authority he carried them all along with him.
For once, however, the rupture between the Pope and the king of France may be said to be positive, seeing how openly the Pope has shown himself in this affair of Genoa, and considering the complaints against him here. As to the Swiss, I know for certain that within the past eight days the Pope sent them thirty-six thousand ducats for six thousand men, which he wanted them to levy at once. The Swiss took the money, and then declared that they would not raise the men unless they had three months’ pay, and that the Pope must send eighteen thousand ducats more; and on the 11th of the month they sent a courier from Geneva to Rome to demand these additional eighteen thousand ducats. Some think that the Pope wanted these men to overturn the government of Genoa; but it is not known whether the Duke of Savoy will grant them passage through his territory. Thus no one can judge how all this will end, and we must wait for the results as they manifest themselves from day to day. The king ordered the recall of his ambassadors from Rome, but has since then suspended this order.
I beg your Lordships to come to some decision in relation to the matter I wrote about from Lyons. To-day Robertet told me frankly that he bore and had borne for you pondus diei et æstus, etc.
Blois, 18 July, 1510.
[* ]Marc Antonio had been sent by the Pope to stir up the city of Genoa against the king of France; but he did not succeed in the attempt, and came very near being taken prisoner and stripped.